Rainhill reach Echo Cup final but lose to Ormskirk
SEMI FINAL: Oxton 134-6 (Matthew Jones 64*, Mardi Quadri 39; Ben Edmundson 2-29) Rainhill 135-5 (Imliwati Lemtur 47, Sam Kershaw 35; Matthew Jones 2-31) Rainhill beat Oxton by 5 wickets
Scorecard Rainhill's progress in the T20 Echo Cup took them to Finals Day alongside Oxton, Ormskirk and Birkenhead Park.
Rainhill were drawn against Oxton in the first semi-final and won the toss, putting their opponents in to bat. Jack Lowrie struck in the first over to dismiss Oxton captain Luke Filer, lbw, for 0. In the following over Imliwati Lemtur took the wicket of Grant Hughes and Oxton were in trouble at 5 for 2, but Matthew Jones and Jordan Collier were able to engineer a recovery and sought to play positively. Oxton had taken the score on to 30 when Collier was caught by Adam Edwards off the bowling of Liam O'Toole for 15. Next man in, Jack Breheny, lasted only four deliveries - caught by Ross Higham to give Rainhill captain Ben Edmundson his first wicket of the game. Jones remained defiant and was joined by Mahdi Quadri, who offered resistance and one or two creative shots. The fifth-wicket pair added 78 runs as they helped their team post a respectable total. Quadri was bowled by spinner Sam Kershaw for 39 and Ben Edmundson took a second wicket - that of wicketkeeper Rutherford - but Jones remained unbeaten at the end on 64 as Oxton moved to 134 for 6 from their 20 overs. Rainhill's innings started positively with Ross Higham demonstrating his value as a top-order batsman in the shorter form of the game, hitting 5 fours and a six in a 23-ball 31. Unfortunately for Rainhill, Tyler McGladdery was bowled by Jordan Collier and Higham was out shortly afterwards. Ben Edmundson was run out by Rutherford, but Sam Kershaw (35 from 34 balls) and Imliwati Lemtur (47 from 26) steered Rainhill towards the finish line. With Rainhill needing six runs to win, Kershaw was caught by Jack Corran off the bowling of Matthew Jones and a few balls later the same duo combined to dismiss Lemtur just three runs short of a half-century. The late wickets proved academic, however, as James Clarke and Rob McKeown saw Rainhill to the target with two overs to spare. FINAL: Ormskirk 216-2 (James Bone 80*, George Politis 65; Imliwati Lemtur 1-25) Rainhill 86 (Imliwati Lemtur 36, Adam Edwards 11; James Bone 3-7) Ormskirk beat Rainhill by 130 runs
Having reached the final, Rainhill faced Ormskirk who had comprehensively beaten Birkenhead Park in the other semi-final.
Ormskirk elected to bat first and, while Imliwati Lemtur bowled opener Ian Robinson for 9, they played aggressively from the outset. George Politis raced to a 45-ball 65 before Jack Lowrie struck. The wicket changed little as James Bone (80 from 48 balls) and Gary Knight (57 from 20) stunned Rainhill as they piled on the runs, smashing the ball to all sections of the ground. Bone and Knight finished unbeaten as Ormskirk posted an impressive 216 for 2.
Requiring almost 11 runs per over, Rainhill were unable to match Ormskirk's batting heroics. Imliwati Lemtur provided some creditable resistance and hit an enterprising 36 from 27 deliveries but no-one else was able to make any significant contribution. Rainhill fell to a 130-run defeat but that should not detract from the achievement of reaching the final. The team has been outstanding in T20 competition this year and finishing runner-up to Ormskirk is an accomplishment in itself.
The team would like to thank the many fans who attended the Finals Day at Birkenhead Park, which was a great occasion even if the final result didn't go Rainhill's way.